What Do You Do When It Gets Real?

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I haven’t had any personal interest in basketball since I was playing in intramurals as a 5th grader. Sure, in high school, I went to games to cheer on my classmates and friends, but I realized early on that I was too slow and fat to be a participant. But, I had a loud voice and loved the energy of being in the stands!

So, we’re going back nearly two decades since I’ve witnessed a basketball game of any sort. Like, not even an NBA game on TV. Just not my thing. March Madness is just March to me. No judgement, again, just not something I’m interested in.

But, there’s this basketball thing I’d like to share. A week or two ago, there was a college (I think) basketball player who broke his leg in a game on national television. Apparently, it was a pretty horrific break, too. Of course, I wasn’t watching. And even when clips of the accident have been on, I’m still missing out on the visual. So, please know my commentary is based on not actually having any personal experience with the event.

Yet, here’s what I was told. When the player, Kevin, I think his name is, went down, an interesting thing happened. It was immediately apparent that he was hurt and hurt badly. Most of his teammates diverted their eyes or completely turned away. One teammate ran up to be at his side. This teammate put his hand on his buddy’s shoulder and, we can guess, was being present for the injured man, even before the coaching staff and physicians got to him. Interesting study in human dynamics, don’t you think?

Why is it that some people turn away when there’s a tragedy, and some jump right in to help? Why do some people bury their head in the sand when they could be helping? And no one thinks other players are going to carry him off the court or set a broken leg on the spot, but simply being present for another in the time of tragedy is sometimes the best (and only) thing you can do to help.

Faithful reader, I encourage you to be like Kevin’s teammate who was immediately at his side. Instead of being grossed out by something that’s wrong, be the person who immediately empathizes with the person who is hurting. Hold that person’s hand, even if you don’t know anything else to do, that simple gift of human presence is so, so important to someone who is facing horrific adversity.

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